tv Defense Secretary Mattis Comments to Press CSPAN February 19, 2017 10:51pm-11:01pm EST
and we are grateful for that. thank you again. can,o come back if you next year or the year after. [applause] defense secretary james mattis met with a number of free orders today that not all be.br on a topics.f sec. mattis: good evening, ladies and gentlemen. we anticipated we might not be able to get into afghanistan due to weather. we got the weather report yesterday. i was fortunate before we left munich to speak with the president at length. we were both there and we took
advantage of that opportunity knowing i might not be able to see him today as we initially planned. we had a very in-depth discussion about the way ahead in afghanistan and then i spoke -- by secureular videoconference with our commander in the field, general nicholson and that when on for several hours and this was all part of my getting my feet on the deck in terms of getting current on the situation that the coalition faces in afghanistan both politically and strategically in identifying the way ahead. theetary nimitz, i met with royal highness the crown for them. this is a country that has been a longtime partner in the region. a very long time, going back decades and we again had a very
good discussion on the listening mode out here as we get our hands around the stability aspects and what is going well and what is not going so well in the region. ontoon enough we will move our next stop so let me go to questions and the answers now with those few words to see what is on your mind. >> i would like to get your general sense of how things are going and my colleague who is there, he saw some american to the front lines. i would like to know whether or not there has been any changes on where they can and cannot go. west module the operation as you know has been underway in terms of isolating the area for some time now. the path into the city is something i do not want to go
into details about because il confidentiality to the troops making the attack had at the same time we are very close to it if not engaged already and that fight. the u.s. forces continue in the and role that they were in the coalition forces are in support of this operation and we will continue as you know with the accelerated effort to destroy isis. >> you mentioned general nicholson today. i would be interested in hearing your assessment on afghanistan. i cannot believe president trump you get better understanding on the extent to which russia is helping me telegram? are you wouldn't -- is helping the taliban and?
-- sec. mattis: on the situation in afghanistan, my point in talking to president donnie and the field commanders is to gain their political and military appreciation to the situation. we are putting our thoughts together now. the president has been rightly reticent on it because he is waiting for my assessment on it and the us has been from the intelligence community and he is opening to my advice on it. but first i have to formulate where i stand. this is the normal collection of information and to assess what the other countries are doing in the region to help or hinder our efforts in afghanistan. shortly i will have my thoughts collected. [indiscernible]
sec. mattis: no but it should not take too long. i have to integrate a fair number of issues in order to give a good recommendation for the way ahead. but thank you. >> can i follow up? sec. mattis: go ahead. the casualty rate, do you think this is a sustainable conflict as it is currently going on? sec. mattis: it is pretty disastrous for the taliban and they lost a leader. considering this is an organization that knows it cannot win at the ballot box and is using bombs and guns on purpose, they were unsuccessful in getting their tactical objective so i think it was a lot more damaging to the taliban and the afghan security forces paid a very heavy price.
is in a worse -- is in a worse position today. [indiscernible] of landtis: the amount is probably less important than the percent of people protected by the government. i would not in any way say it has not been a hard fight all the way through. that is a very accurate point. i would question who came out on the shorter end of the stick right now. i would rather be in nato's position right now then i would want to be in the taliban position. >> the president said this week that the press is the enemy of the american people. do you agree?
sec. mattis: i agree it is contentious times with the press. but the press is a constituency we deal with. i do not have any issues with the press. >> to follow-up up, general thomas said the disarray of the white house was causing some consternation, particularly on among those fighting the wars. do you agree? to what extent is this happening? sec. mattis: i have been talking to a fair number of commanders around the world. i think general thomas was taken a bit out of context. we all want to see everything running smoothly. welcome to democracy. it's at times wildly contentious. it's at times quite sporting. but the bottom line is this is the best form of government that we can come up with. so, the military's job is to hold the line, and to hold the line, and to hold the line while our government sorts out the way
ahead and our people speak. we don't have any disarray inside the military, and that's where my responsibility resides. ♪ c-span's washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up monday morning, the american enterprise institute's gary smith will discuss his recent piece about presidential power. then a look at tensions with military nuclear powers. lauren wright joins us to talk about her book "on behalf of the ," presidential spouses and white house to munication strategies today. be sure to watch live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on monday morning. join the discussion. with professoray
barbara feinman todd. a with professor barbara feinman todd. then, justice ruth bader ginsburg and it will be followed by a presidential leadership survey. ♪ announcer: this week on "q&a," georgetown professor barbara feinmann todd. and how she was still able to did herself out of the washington swamp. brian: barbara feinman todd, your book is "pretend i'm not here,"